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Deep Teeth Cleaning

A deep teeth cleaning, also known as gum therapy and usually referred to by dental professionals as gum scaling and root planing, is a dental treatment designed to clean between the teeth and gums all the way down to the roots.

During a standard dental cleaning, a dental hygienist or dentist cleans the front, back, and sides of the tooth above the gum line.

This same process is performed during a deep teeth cleaning, but the dentist also continues down to the root of the tooth, below the gumline, removing tartar and other build-up from the “pocket” that have been formed between the root of the tooth and gums.

A follow-up visit may be required several weeks after the deep clean to ensure that everything is healing properly and the results are satisfactory.

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Deep Teeth Cleaning Process

A deep teeth cleaning or a dental deep cleaning procedure involves two parts – the first is gum or periodontal scaling and the second is root planing.

Both aspects of the deep teeth cleaning process can be performed using electric or ultrasonic instruments or manual dentist scaling tools, or a combination of the two.

A deep teeth cleaning generally involves two separate visits – the first for the teeth scaling and the second for the root planing. The scaling part of the process removes all the plaque and tartar from below the gumline.

Next, there is the root planing, which involves using an instrument to clean and smooth the root of the tooth, and helps the gums reattach to the tooth, minimizing the size of the pocket or space that can trap unhealthy build-up. Root planing, or the second part of the deep teeth cleaning procedure, requires that the dental hygienist use a scaling instrument to clean plaque, tartar, and other build-up from the roots of your teeth. This helps smooth the root and lets it reconnect with the gums, reducing the size of the space between the teeth and gums. Deep teeth cleaning is designed to treat gum diseases like gingivitis and prevent them from worsening and require surgery or other more extensive procedures.

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Is a Deep Teeth Cleaning Necessary?

Typically, your dentist will recommend a deep teeth cleaning after examining your teeth and gums and taking X-rays to help assess the overall health of your mouth. If your gums are diseased or your gingivitis has gotten to the point where they are pulling away from the teeth and creating pockets or spaces that expose the bone that are 5 millimeters deep or more, a deep teeth cleaning is often advised as the next step short of actual periodontal surgery.

Be aware that if your gingivitis or other gum problems aren’t resolved, it may progress into periodontitis, which results in the pockets between your teeth and gums becoming so deep, that the bacteria begins to affect the bone and supporting structures of your teeth. If left untreated, it can even make your teeth loose – loose enough to fall out or require extraction. Deep teeth cleaning can help reduce the size of the pockets and slow or halt the progression of gingivitis gum disease.

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How to Care for Your Teeth After Deep Teeth Cleaning

After getting a deep teeth cleaning, you need to be extra gentle and careful with your teeth and gums, keep them as clean as you can, and take any medications prescribed by your dentist. You should be aware that if the deep teeth cleaning or gum scaling and root planing do not reverse the course of your gingivitis and you develop periodontitis, you may need more extensive treatment or surgery.

That said, you can help continue the healing process and minimize the need for future deep teeth cleanings and other procedures by maintaining good general dentistry services like cleanings, e.g. brushing and flossing on a daily basis and going for regular teeth cleanings on a six-month basis. Of course, always consult your dentist if you have any questions and be sure to attend any follow up appointments and schedule regular cleanings in the future.


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